The Healing Power of Laughter

Over the years, working with people with emotional struggles and resistance to life changes; I’ve come to appreciate, two of the biggest barriers to happiness are: fear of foolishness & taking oneself too seriously.

Life is a serious adventure, yet the key is to take one self lightly within it. 

When you were growing up, did you ever find something funny and you started to giggle or laugh. Than a parent, grandparent, or a teacher said… Don’t laugh, that’s not funny? Yet, deep down inside you, your funny bone was tickled.

Many people learned growing up, that in order to be mature, you have to be serious. That if you are having fun, you are not being good and you are not doing your job.  We get conditioned to shut down our imagination and our childlike self.

Childlike vs. Childish:

We learned to shut down the part of us that is unconditional, accepting, spontaneous, playful and curious. Creative, patient, flexible, fearless, adventurous and joyful. The result, we become more fearful, doubtful, more controlling and rigid in mind and body.

We give up the childlike innocence and wonder, and as a result, we develop more childish behaviors being: conditional, inpatient, and controlling, demanding, whinny, selfish and unhappy. Or maybe we’ve become timid, doubtful, fearful, and anxious to take risk and step out of our comfort zone.

We learned being vulnerable is risky and painful. You will be judged as wrong and not enough. So you take both life and yourself too seriously, creating increase stress, wear and tear on your body, mind and spirit. 

Life is already full of stress, with our fast paced society, being full of expectations, judgment, the need for instant gratification, the overloaded of information, and obsession/addiction to technology and social media.

Research says that 90% of office visits to primary care doctors today are for stress related problems. Some researcher’s concluded that due our fast pace and information society, that we experience more stress (fight or flight response in different ways) in one year, than our ancestors did in an entire lifetime.

Many people hold their stress in by avoiding, resisting or being critical of self and/or others. This creates toxins in the body and creates distortions in thinking, belief and behaviors, which leads to dis-ease in body and/or mind.

There are only two times during the day that I’m under stress… day and night. Yes, the stress and pressures of life are increasing and getting more intense. The key is too not lose ourselves in it, and not take ourselves too seriously within it.  

The most frequently asked question on earth is. “Where’s the bathroom?” The   most disappointing question we ask when we pass on to the afterlife is … “Why did I take life and myself so seriously?”

Do you know why angles can fly?  They take themselves lightly.

The word humor means to be fluid, to flow.

A child laughs around 300 times a day; many adults laugh only a handful of times a day.

How laughter helps the Mind – Body:

If you laugh 100 times a day, that’s equal to 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Laughter is a wonderful physical and aerobic workout.

When you frown you use 62 muscles just in your face alone. When you smile and laugh you’re only using  24 facial muscles. Point is, it takes more energy and effort to be unhappy than happy. 

Laughter releases a brain chemical called endorphin’s, which is our natural feel good chemical. 

We have cells in our body called T-Cells, that is connected to our immune system. One of the ways this cell is ignited is by laughter, so laughter and joy helps boost our immune system.

In terms of relaxing and re-framing thoughts, a 10 minute laugh is equal to 30 minutes of meditation.

Laughter is a form of mindfulness, it brings you to the present moment. Life and love are experienced in the present.

We need at least 12 laughs and 5 hugs daily to stay healthy.

Both laughter and crying are innate healing tools, and forms of healthy emotional expression and release through the physical body. We laugh so hard we start to cry, and we cry so hard we begin to laugh. One emotion naturally leads to the other.

Think of laughter as your internal Tranquilizer with no side effects.

In our humanness, we have embarrassing moments; we do foolish things, make mistakes and wrong decisions. The key is to do them with enthusiasm. I believe in the positive power of insanity, it’s the only thing that keeps me sane. There are no mistakes… only opportunities for learning and growth.

We all have embarrassing moments, and when you share your embarrassing moment with others, many can often relate to having a similar embarrassing experience as well. You are really not alone in that embarrassment; it just seemed that way at the time.

The loneliness factor is becoming a major illness throughout the world. We can communicate and connect with people easier and faster than ever; yet, because some people can be so judgmental, critical and demanding, we avoid interactions.

Many of us become more isolated to protect or insulate ourselves from the judgment. Others can become verbally or physically aggressive, as a way to protect and defend themselves. Either extreme on this continuum leads to the perception of being judged misunderstood, so we become lonely and unhappy.

Laughter is a great way to connect with people. For humor and laughter, helps break down barriers and builds rapport. Laughter is contagious; when we start laughing people around us often start laughing with us. 

It’s not about using humor and laughter at the expense of someone. The true and divine intent of humor and laughter is to relax us, connect us and help us relate to each other. It’s a way to honor the similarities of each other, and accept our differences.

Humor and laughter helps us put life situations into perspective, to view difficult circumstances in a different light and way. When you change your thoughts and perspective, you change your world. 

Dr. Bruce Lipton said: “The moment you change your perception, is the moment you change the chemistry in your body.”

People often ask me. Does the divine creator have a sense of humor? I say, “oh yes, it loves to laugh and play, the divine has a wondrous playground that the earth is a part of, it’s called the universe.”

In scripture Jesus said: if you want to enter the kingdom be as a child.

What’s love and laughter got to do with healing?

Laughter and being childlike are expressions of love to the self and others. They promote constructive problem-solving and positive ways toward reconciliation and healing. Being childlike, takes you out of the resentment or victim role; moving you toward a healthier and joyful way of living and being.

 

Feel free to leave a comment below.

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. My practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. My book Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com  or  justbelove1.com Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

 

 

Forgiveness: Moving Beyond the Injustice

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful healing tools we have for reconciling and moving beyond from the hurts and wounds of life. It’s also a profound act of love and acceptance, especially self-love. For when we forgive another person or ourselves for a wrong doing, we set ourselves free and we benefit the most from the forgiveness. Despite the healing and liberating power of forgiveness; for many of us, the act of forgiveness is one of the most resisted and thus difficult acts we can offer to others or ourselves.

I’ve come to appreciate the only reason we have forgiveness, is because we make something matter. When we make something matter, we create an intense emotional charge within us. So an unjust “cause” done to us creates a strong “effect”, often having lasting emotional, physical, social and spiritual “effects” on us. The act of forgiveness helps to lower the emotional charge and intensity within us and helps liberate us from the painful experience.

Forgiveness is not about excusing the offense or saying/believing it didn’t happen. Forgiveness is not really about the offender, it’s about the one who is affected by the cause, the one holding on to the anger, resentment, grief. Being trapped in resentment, anger, depression, grief; waiting for the offender to take responsibility and ownership of the hurt toward us, is giving away our own power, inner peace and freedom. The more we can take charge of our own healing without an expectation that the offender needs to say something to us, or do something for us, the more empowered and liberated we can be. The quote by Lewis Smedes speaks volumes about the importance of forgiveness: “To forgive is to set the prisoner free and to discover that that prisoner was you.”

Forgiveness is an act of love, and love is freedom. To forgive is to be free and a way to love. Forgiveness means to go beyond our wounded ego self, in order to free the self. The willingness to go beyond the wounded self is to rise as love, to let go of what no longer serves us, so in time we can be restored to wholeness. 

Perhaps you’re not willing and/or ready to forgive someone. That’s okay and where you are currently at. Forgiveness is not something to be forced upon or to do out of guilt, if you are not ready. One should be open, willing and accepting in order to truly forgive. Human nature is such that, we are all at different stages of willingness and readiness. If this be the case, at least consider the importance of reconciling within yourself how hanging on to negative perceptions, create toxic emotions of anger and resentment leading to paralyzing beliefs and resulting self-defeating behaviors. How all this can affect many areas of your life in ways that are not helpful to you.   

I offer you the possibility and opportunity of considering a process I call “inner reconciliation.” Inner reconciliation is a way of reorienting our perceptions and beliefs about the experience and ourselves within the fact that our life has been disrupted either mildly or severely by a wrongful act toward us. Our ego defenses and beliefs often says: “They wronged us/hurt us and so let’s stay mad, bitter resentful, etc, that way we have a sense of power and control; since we didn’t have power and control during the offending experience.” Our anger, resentment and such, become a lens through which we see ourselves and the wrong doing. Its destructive thinking, beliefs and behaviors we create as a way to keep feeding our hurt and pain, in order to keep it alive and justify it. This is only hurting ourselves now, within the fact that we were hurt by someone in the past. This is unfortunately how victim energy and behaviors begin to take root, and if not tamed and reconciled can become our way of life.

Like grief, forgiveness is a process and takes time, willingness and commitment toward moving beyond what has hurt us and seemed unfair. When we can change our perception and belief about the experience, we begin to change our world and the way we interact in it. The process of forgiveness, like moving through any change we experience in our life, is an inside job. The job and empowerment of moving through what I call the 4 R’s: Recognize: who and how I am being with my current perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, feelings/emotions and behaviors. We can’t change or move beyond something unless we acknowledge it and tell the true to ourselves about ourselves. Reconcile: The willingness to resolve the inner pain and torment. Release: To let go of what no longer serves and benefits us. This offers space for healthier and more empowering possibilities to enter into your reality. Reframe: Is to now choose to see the painful experience, yourself and the offender, in a different and more constructive way. To see the glass more full than empty. This creates the willingness and courage to construct a more positive and affirming belief about yourself, within the unfortunate experience.  

In my own life, I’ve had many opportunities to practice forgiveness in what seemed at first, an unjust cause. I offer two experiences. One, was my wife of twelve years wanting a divorce, at the time it didn’t seem fair and not my choice. I was hurt, angry and frustrated. In time, I came to a place accepting her choice and let go of making her responsible for my feelings and behaviors within the stress and change. She made her choice out of self-love and what was best for her. I also had a choice of how I would move through it and who I wanted to be within a difficult situation. The choice of hanging on to anger, sadness and resentment and such, would only take me down a self-destructive and unfulfilling path. Through accepting the things I could not change, forgiving her and myself, and empowering myself to change what I could, which was only myself, this allowed me to change my situation from the inside out and move on in my life, and be a better version of myself and a father. Years later my ex-wife and I are friends and get along well on behalf of our sons and grand children. 

Several years ago, while driving my car I was hit head on, by a driver who was attempting to pass the car in front of him. The driver of this car was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way and his insurance company settled with me. Several months after the settlement, this man decided to sue me for mental harm. It was amazing that it ended up in a jury trial. I was in disbelief and just dumbfounded how I could be setting in a courtroom on trial for something I didn’t cause. Fear, anger, and uncertainty filled my days waiting for the court appearance and the verdict. I was found not guilty. A part of me with its voice inside me, understandably wanted to turn around and sue this guy, and many people suggested this. But another voice inside said, let it go, just let him be, he’s an old unhappy man, no need to put more fuel in the fire. I had compassion for this man and his struggle with needing revenge and justice, while not acknowledging and accepting he was in the wrong. He taught me, you never win a war – with war. So I forgave the error. In his need to get back at me, he was unaware of what his anger and resentment was doing to himself. I was at peace and moving on with life.

This man was after all, another teacher and opportunity for me through this difficult life experience. Through his actions, he was offering me the opportunity of learning and practicing the gift of moving beyond the injustice and my wounded self, toward acceptance, compassion and forgiveness.

You see, when you realize we have choices within difficult, painful and unjust experiences to see the offender as the threat and the enemy or the teacher and the opportunity. Depending on how you view it and think about it, is how you will experience it. What we think about we bring about.  When we can accept and understand that our experiences are really our teachers and opportunities to practice acts such as: acceptance, compassion and forgiveness, we take the high road with love, creating the willingness and commitment to move beyond the hurt, and learn the lesson for soul growth and self-mastery. Is this an easy task to get too? No. Is forgiveness a liberating and life changing act to engage in, that offers higher meaning? Yes, for sure. Life isn’t meant to be easy, it’s meant to be meaningful.

Questions to consider: Why might you struggle with forgiveness?  What would be the benefits of forgiveness for you?  How does acceptance and willingness aid the forgiveness process?  Feel free to leave a comment, share your answers to above questions, and/or share your experience with forgiveness.

 

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. My practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential.  My book Just Be Love is available through my websites: transitionpathways.com  or  justbelove1.com Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

A Gathering of Men spring Retreat

Masculine and feminine image2Mas and Fem imageTransition Pathways offers
A Gathering of Men Retreat

Understanding Masculine Energies:
Our Struggles and Strengths in Changing Times
May 3-5 2013  Bishop Lane Retreat Center Rockford, IL
While masculine and feminine characteristics are very different,
nature meant them to be complementary
The terms masculine and feminine are often misunderstood, undervalued and misused.
This retreat is for men seeking greater awareness and use of their own masculine strengths and qualities along with ways to better understand and incorporate feminine wisdom and strength in their lives.

In the spirit of fellowship and understanding this retreat seeks to enhance our perspective and actions with ourselves and others.  our retreat intent is to explore together the following topics and by way of discussion, exercises, experiential learning and integration.

Main topics

  • True meanings and cycles of masculine and feminine aspects: How this is changing our world today
  • Historical perspective of masculine and feminine energy: How it manifest in cultures and human systems
  • Understanding how our perceptions limit our true masculine characteristics
  • Exploring our resistance to looking at ourselves and discovering other discovering other masculine characteristics
  • The feminine energy: Why do I repress feminine aspects
  • Discovering the importance of achieving masculine and feminine balance toward and integrated self

Weekend includes meditations, being in nature, soulful reflection and fellowship

Bishop Lane Retreat Center is 5 miles southwest of Rockford, IL  The center has 200 acres of landscaped and wooded areas with full dinning, sleeping and workshop accommodations. Item required personal hygiene items, notebook, pen, open mind and heart.

Retreat facilitator: David Schroeder, LCSW & David Poust, MDiv
Fee: $180.00 includes retreat accommodations, meals and materials
Retreat
time: Fri. May 3 6:00 pm to Sun May 5 3:00 pm
Limit: 18 open and seeking participants
Pre-registration required, deadline April 29th  $75.00 desposit required at time of registration.    

For more information contact David Schroeder @ 815-238-4521, email: humor311@sbcglobal.net  or David Poust @ 815-238-6584 email: dwpoust@gmail.com

David Schroeder, is a clinical and spiritual social worker and life coach in private practice, he has over 25 years experience in the clinical and personal development fields  David has been leading men’s groups and retreats for the past 7 years.

David Poust, is a United Methodist Pastor, he has served various congregations in Northern Illinois for the past 15 years. David has extensive experience in various healing modalities, spiritual guidance and men’s retreats.

 

A Gathering of Men

Transition Pathways offers Men’s Group

A Gathering of Men

A ten session series
For men seeking greater understanding and growth 
of their emotional and spiritual self, through our relationships and life purpose

A time of exploring and discovering the true self
Topics and discussions are designed to stimulate greater inner
awareness
of yourself and each other, as well as promoting
individual and collective insights and growth

Topics include:

  • The journey of a men: What it means to be a man today
  • Breaking ground with our ego/persona, embracing the wounded parts
  • The Mask I wear: Mask making activity and the telling of the story
  • Encounter with our shadow: Acknowledging and accepting our imperfection within our perfection
  • Embracing our soul mate: Understanding and working with our Masculine and Feminine energies.  Being in relationship with self and others
  • Understanding & coping with life transitions
  • Remembering who you are: Reunion with your spiritual self

Group night: Tuesday evenings beginning Sept. 15, 2015 (Sept mtgs. 3rd & 5th Tuesday)
When: 2nd & 4th Tuesday of month for 10 sessions
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Fee: $20.00 per session
Limit: 10 participants
Site: Unity Center for spiritual Growth  6025 Ada Drive SE  Ada, MI
Group facilitator: David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC

To register or more information contact David @ 616-666-9921 or email humor311@sbcglobal.net.  David is a licensed clinical and spiritual social worker, professional life coach and owner of Transition Pathways. He has over 25 years experience in the clinical and personal development fields.  He offers men’s groups promoting self-discovery, growth and fellowship.  www.transitionpathways.com

Men’s retreat

A Gathering of Men

Retreat Weekend

Expressing Our Truth – Finding Our Way

 October 5 – 7 2012  Camp Emmaus Mt. Morris, IL

  For men seeking greater understanding of ourselves, what’s in our way and finding our soulful path.  A weekend designed for self and collective exploration, celebration and fellowship.

Expressing Our Truth – Finding Our Way

“Without an understanding of who we are, where we came, I do not
think we can advance.” – Louis Leakey

We live in times of uncertainty and tremendous change.  Many of us are feeling out of sorts and not knowing our way.  We feel a need and urge to speak and live more from our truth.  Can you relate?

Join us for an informal gathering of men weekend, as we create an atmosphere of acceptance and acknowledgment with being and expressing our truth.  While exploring and finding clarity and direction in our way of being in this uncertain and changing world.

Weekend includes meditations, walks, soulful reflection and fellowship

Camp Emmaus is just east of Mt. Morris, IL off route 64, 34 miles south of Rockford, Il  Camp has 97 acres of wooded area along with a graceful pond, creeks and walking trails.  accommodations in retreat lodge are complete with bathrooms showers, kitchen & dinning area.  Sleeping area are bunk beds with mattress.

Led by: David Schroeder LCSW, CPC
Fee: $100.00 includes retreat materials and lodging.  $40.00 deposit
Meals are pot luck, suggested to bring items for 2 meals
Retreat time: Friday Oct 7, 6:00pm to Sunday Oct. 9, 3:30pm
Limit: 15 open, willing & soul journeying men
Pre-registration required deadline Sept. 30th
For more information contact David @ 815-238-4521 or
humor311@sbcglobal.net  click here to email

As a soul explorer, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Professional Life Coach, David understands and works the task and tools to transforming wounds into spiritual lessons and self-actualization.  His Practice Transition Pathways in Rockford, IL seeks to assist people in using their inner pathways to growth, healing & potential.  For over 25 years, David has been assisting people in healing, personal and spiritual development.  David has been leading men’s groups and retreats for the past 5 years, offering pathways to self discovery, growth and fellowship.

Enhancing spiritual esteem

Enhancing Our Spiritual & Self-Esteem
Offered through Rock Valley College Community Education

Explore the importance of understanding, accepting and working with our spiritual and emotional self.  We will explore  5 key areas of our inner self and the universe, and how these areas impact our relationship with ourselves, our earthly world, and the spiritual universe.  Class offers stories, metaphores, insights, discussion, and tools.  Helping you increase your understanding and growth of the dynamics and choice between your human and spiritual self.  ” The road to your soul is through your mind” 

Topics include:

  • Our Resistant Ego and Our Surrendered Spirit
  • The Need for Approval & the Rejection of the Self
  • Building Our Emotional & Spiritual Bank Account
  • Accepting & Living with the Continuum in the Universe & Within Ourselves 
  • Celebrating the Uniqueness of the Universe & Ourselves  
Instructor: David Schroeder, LCSW, CPC
Class location: Rock Valley College  3301 N. Mulford Rd. Rockford, IL
Day/Time: Thursdays Oct. 20 & 27  6:00 – 9:00pm
Fee: $50.00
Pre-registration through Rock Valley College Community Education
815-921-3900 or online @rockvalleycollege.edu/onlineservices
For more class info. call or email David @ 815-238-4521 or david@transitionpathways.com  

Power of Being

Power of Being: Unlocking Blocks to Potential 
Offered through Rock Valley College Community Education

What causes you to feel stuck, trapped or overwhelmed?  Do you feel uncertainty and fear?  Do you notice your energy being drained by it all?  This class offers information, exercises and tools to answer these questions and more. Gain a better understanding of why you show up the way you do and more importantly learn effective ways to shift your thinking and energy to unlock the blocks to growth and potential. 

Topics include: 

  • Two Types of Energy We Live With
  •  Seven Levels of Self-Leadership
  •  Four Main Energy Blocks to Our Potential
  •  Consciously Aligning Yourself to Values
  •  The Power & Energy of Your Thoughts & Words
  •   Importance of Desire, Belief & Acceptance in Reaching Potiental
  •   Meditations to Manifest Your Desire

Instructor: David Schroeder, LCSW,CPC
Class held at: Rock Valley College 3301 N. Mulford Rd. Rockford, IL
Day/Time: Thursdays Sept 22 – Oct. 6   6:00 – 9:00pm
Fee: $75.00
Pre-Regristration Through Rock Valley College CommunityEducation 815-921-3900 or online @www.rockvalleycollege.edu/onlineservices. For class info. contact David @ 815-238-4521 or david@transtionpathways.com